Battle of the Somme anniversary: ‘Time has passed that we need to segregate ourselves in commemoration’ says DUP MP Gavin Robinson after Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill laid a laurel wreath separately

The time for segregated commemoration has passed, a DUP MP has said

By PA Reporter
Friday, 1st July 2022, 3:38 pm
Updated Friday, 1st July 2022, 4:00 pm

Gavin Robinson was speaking after Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill laid a wreath separately ahead of an official Somme commemoration event in Belfast.

While he welcomed her attendance earlier on Friday morning, Mr Robinson called for “collectivity” in commemoration.

He said: “I think it’s good that she did attend today. I think we should recognise that Sinn Fein breached that barrier 20 years ago, with Alex Maskey first attending the Cenotaph here and recognising the sacrifice at the Somme.

DUP MP Gavin Robinson speaking to the media after laying a wreath at the Cenotaph in Donegall Square West in Belfast, marking the anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916

“I think it would be nice to get to the point where we could share in this commemoration today – that individuals, political leaders didn’t need to segregate themselves from the commemoration that took place.”

He said the sacrifice of those who died at the Somme was shared between communities, and so the commemoration should be shared too.

He said: “I don’t want to be churlish about it. I think it is good that she was here today. But I think the time has passed, that we need to segregate ourselves in commemoration.

“Everyone who sacrificed at the Somme did so collectively, irrespective of the community background they had. The different regiments, the different divisions, they were in France together and they died together. And they did that for all of us. That’s what we commemorate here today. And it’d be nice to see some collectivity in that commemoration.”

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